The Citroen C5 has certainly attracted its fair share of attention recently thanks to that annoying advertising campaign. However, despite marketing that’s brimming with premium Teutonic rhetoric, it’s actually a capable slightly off-beat addition to the Passat/Mondeo scrum in the office car park.
The C5’s appeal has recently been widened considerably with the arrival of the estate – which, true to Citroen’s upper C/D segment aspirations, has been branded Tourer. Still, the two-box styling scheme builds on the saloon‘s ruggedly handsome looks, and takes the upmarket theme just a little further, even if some of the chrome detailing has been applied haphazardly.
The Citroen C5 Tourer might be big, but is it clever?
Yes and no. Without doubt, there’s enough eccentricity to keep the Citroen faithful happy. They’ll love the fluid suspension, now known as Hydractive 3+, fitted to the Exclusive model – and no doubt the mixture of analogue and digital for the instrumentation will also strike a chord.
Citroen is a traditional master of the large estate car – and this experience at feeding a customer base it knows so well is evident as soon as you fire up the electrically powered tailgate of the Exclusive and peer in. There’s innovation aplenty – such as the addition of a button in the boot to raise or lower the rear suspension.
It’s a practical load space, too. The rear seats fold down completely flat and the loading lip is agreeably low.
However, the Tourer falls down in its role of load-lugger in one important area – in terms of absolute volume, it’s not that big. Limited to 1462 litres with the rear seats folded down, it’s way behind the Vauxhall Vectra and Ford Mondeo. Considering the sheer bulk of the C5, that’s doubly disappointing.
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Does it really feel German?
In some ways. The solidity and perceived quality are all there in a way that no Citroen’s managed before. Tap the dashboard, squeeze the seat bolsters and press the buttons, and there’s little that fails to impress.
If you’re a keen driver, it’s best to look elsewhere for a hi-cap family wagon, though. The C5’s Hydractive 3+ suspension is tailored for comfort, smothering the roughest of roads disdainfully. It’s not perfect, of course – sharp ridges will shudder through the cabin noisily and body roll in corners is more pronounced than you’d expect – even in Sport mode.
The steering is also lacking in meaningful feel, even if it is well weighted and accurate. It’s a capable car dynamically, though, but like all Citroens riding on fluid, you need to time to tune in and change your driving style.
Performance, despite that grunty engine, is also disappointing, and that’s down to the overall lardiness of the C5. A kerb weight of over 1700kg might mean solidity, but there’s a serious price to be paid on the road and at the pumps, with fuel consumption struggling to top 35mpg in the real world.
We like the C5. It’s relaxing and supremely capable of swallowing long distances without raising a sweat. In Tourer form, and toting the top-of-the-range Exclusive equipment pack, it’s a compromise, though.
The dashboard’s messy and lacks the cohesive control systems that grace BMW’s and Audi’s offerings in the sector. It’s stacked, though, and undeniably stylish, if not quite the honorary Teuton that Citroen would have you believe.
In summary, go for it if comfort and refinement are what you seek – but avoid if you’re even remotely interested in a sporting or involved drive.